Re: gk pronunciation

From: yochanan bitan (
Date: Sun Oct 17 1999 - 04:08:40 EDT

>1. I have always assumed that the primary difference between omicron &
>was quantitative/length rather than quality. Was this true at some point,
>and when did it cease being true?

by mid-second century BCE vowel length had been neutralized, [the process
was probably enhanced by the spread of greek throughout the mediteranean
and near east after Alex.] we may assume from the mistakes in the papyri
that o-mega vs o-mikron were pronounced the same. both theos and logos can
be pronounced with a single 'o' sound.

>2. Would you begin to recommend a bibliography on the subject, covering
>different proposed systems, reconstructions, etc.?

you might want to look at
    g. horrocks "Greek, a history of the language and its speakers"
though for further details it will refer you to
    w. allen (vox graeca,3rd ed., cambridge) for the old 4-5 cent BCE stuff
    f. gignac (grammar of greek papyri..., v. 1: phonology, 1976, milan)
for hellenistic.

also, 2 papers will be read at SBL, Greek section, in Boston this year that
will deal with this.

is this important?
i would argue, yes,
a. an aural foundation is necessary for the best language learning
pedagogy and
b. some aural system must be chosen.
c. a "practical first century" would allow reading of nt and papyri
without undue stress. [ ei=i, h, ai=e, a, w=o, ou, oi=u (french 'u') ] it
is also 3/4 of the way to medival greek and the modern system.

come to boston.

randall buth

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